The Daily Office
May 27, 2020
This week, I read about a new spiritual discipline which is actually an ancient discipline called the daily office. Basically, we slow down to be with Jesus by taking periodic pauses (2, 3, or 4 times a day) ranging from two minutes to an hour. In Psalm 119, the author prayed to God seven times a day (Ps 119:164) and Daniel prayed to God three times a day (Daniel 6:10).
Based on the book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, the author suggests four essential elements. The first step is to stop from whatever activity you are doing. To stop is an act of faith, because many of us cannot stop, because we are tempted to believe that if we don't continue our activity, our world will fall apart. The second step is to center on God. This step sounds easy, but it is difficult because many of us are so distracted, fragmented, and scattered. It took me a few minutes casting my anxieties and burdens to God (1 Peter 5:7). The third step is to be silent, which is very strange in our culture which often find silence very uncomfortable. And in silence the point is to do nothing, to stop producing, to stop fixing and solving, to stop calculating and strategizing – to stop all activities and be reminded we are not in control and life is not about us, but it's about God. God is in control and He sits on the heavenly throne. The fourth step is Scripture, whether reading and meditating on Scripture or praying God's word like the Lord's prayer or the Psalms. And at the heart of this discipline is to come to a place where we surrender to God in trust.
This week has been particularly busy with ministry as well as preparing for the birth of our third son. So, when I took the time to practice the daily office, it was difficult to start, but refreshing when I stuck it through. As I entered into the exercise, I was anxious and burdened by the worries of the day. So, I went to find a place where I could not be interrupted and sat on the steps in our backyard. I took several deep breath and asked God to help me to let go of my burdens which I had to release them one by one by name. And I asked God to replace it with peace. As I slowed down, I was reminded God is almighty and I am not. And I was reminded that God is good and loving and God will not withhold any good thing (Psalm 84:11). As I received His peace, I was able to sit quietly and able to just enjoy the silence and thank God for His presence. Then I read a Psalm and ended with a quiet confidence in God that things are going to be ok and whatever I need, God will provide for me.
My prayer is that you can take advantage of the invitation God is offering to us: "Cease striving and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10a, NASB).
|Author: Pastor Daniel Furuyama|
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